Rubicon Leads Zero-Waste Efforts in Grocery Sector

Produce section of a grocery aisle

(Credit: Rubicon)

by | Sep 19, 2023

Produce section of a grocery aisle

(Credit: Rubicon)

Rubicon Technologies has shared an update on its progress in leading waste diversion for its portfolio of grocery stores and supermarkets.

Rubicon’s 2023 Corporate Citizenship Report revealed that the company helped one of the largest U.S. supermarket chains divert over 141,745 tons of materials from landfills in 2022. The supermarket chain’s ultimate goal is to reach a diversion rate of 95% by 2025 and currently achieves an 80% diversion rate, up from the 62% it maintained when the partnership with Rubicon first began.

These diversion rates are made possible by Rubicon’s Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) approach. Most waste management processes prioritize landfilling waste and recovering a small amount of high-value commodities. The SMM process looks upstream at where waste is generated, analyzing operational directives and waste management policies that cause waste. With this information, Rubicon creates a long-term plan for its customers that identifies material sources, what sources may be eliminated, and opportunities to combine materials where possible.

“Using Rubicon’s structured approach to zero waste, our grocery clients can anticipate a consistent push toward sustainability and a high-percentage diversion rate,” said Ryan Cooper, vice president of circular economy solutions at Rubicon.

Tackling Grocery Sector Decarbonization: Food Waste and Packaging

Of all materials found in landfills, food waste generates the most greenhouse gas emissions. Since about 30% of food from American supermarkets is thrown away every year, there lies immense potential for improvement. Food waste diversion has seen a number of innovations in recent years, such as recycling food waste to create compost, animal feed, energy, and fertilizer. Rubicon works to help companies best recycle their waste, specifically for use as compost and to create biodiesel fuel.

Grocers also dispose of plastic wraps, shipping boxes, and more, sending these materials to landfills even though most are considered recyclable. Yet, many grocers are faced with limited options for recycling, if any. Rubicon’s mail-back program offers a solution by providing containers and a straightforward mailing process for recyclable materials, conducted in partnership with g2 revolution.

“With our continued efforts and innovations, we’re helping to transform our customers’ operations and set new industry benchmarks,” said Cooper. “Together, we’re creating a future where waste is not just reduced, but intelligently repurposed for the betterment of our communities and the planet.”

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